Sunday, September 24, 2017

LGBT Marriages of Convenience Gain Popularity in Asia

From the Times of India by Sakshi Virmanil

Pressured by families to maintain a facade of normalcy, some LGBT youth are opting for sham marriages.

Marriages of convenience are clandestine part of South Asian gay culture — a homosexual man and woman decide to tie the knot to stave off questions from nosy families or find protection from the law in countries like India where homosexuality is a criminal offence. In India, the Delhi high court decriminalised homosexuality (Section 377) in 2009, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling four years later.

In 2015, a lesbian couple from China launched a smartphone app iHomo to facilitate marriages of convenience or 'cooperative marriages' between gay men and lesbians. But in more conservative India, the LGBT community looks for MoCs on private Facebook groups, chat rooms and Craigslist.

London-based Liam*, a 29-year doctor originally from Kerala, knew at the age of five that he was "different". He is still weighing his options. "I can come out of the closet and live with a male partner or stay in the closet and never get married. Another option is MoC, where I marry a lesbian who understands my situation," says Liam.

Many Indian parents prefer not to admit that their child is gay, and hope he or she 'will grow out of it' once married.

"I have been signed up on matrimonial websites without my permission. Despite me saying no, my family is persistent," says Liam.

Vinayak*, who found his partner through one of the forums, did not have his happily-ever-after. "My MoC wife was obsessed with her lesbian partner. She refused to interact with my family and would show up only when she felt like it. It ended up becoming a marriage of inconvenience," says Vinayak, who is now separated from his wife.

See full story here.

*Some names have been changed to protect identities.

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